Food Producers Forum is a four-year old provincial non-profit, operating as an information and education hub, with more than a dozen outreach projects to date, including a major provincial food conference held in May, 2022 and a survey of community food producers also completed last year. Both projects have been supported by the Office of Public Engagement at Memorial University, our academic partner.
With input gathered from the conference, the survey (750 respondents, in 167 communities documented production of 6.2 million pounds of food last year by farmers, gardeners, hunters, foragers and fishers!) we have identified a primary need for education and food production hubs at the community level. We will be addressing this need by creating a network of food hub sites across the island of Newfoundland and along the coast of Labrador, where people will come together to gather and grow food, develop shared storage and processing and more equitable and affordable distribution of local, healthy food.
This complex and challenging project will benefit from an online component, to link twelve sites already committed to this project, with pages set up as online forum sites for sharing of knowledge. That website has already been developed using earlier funding. We are ready to travel across the province, to visit sites, collect recommendations and identify needs. With that input as guidance, we will set up a governing board for the new Provincial Food Network, supported by an advisory group made up of knowledgeable and experienced, growers and food policy analysts.
Our hope is that by supporting better approaches to local food, we can have a positive input on local economics and community pride, as well as food security and community health. For more information, please visit our website: www.foodproducersforum.com.